Over recent days I’ve been noting abundant evidence from the DOJ Inspector General’s report, Rep. Devin Nunes and other sources of clear anti-Clinton animus on the part of senior FBI Agents in the New York FBI Field Office and among retired agents with whom they were apparently in contact. It seems clear that members of that office leaked word of Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop more or less immediately to Capitol Hill Republicans and at least one top Trump campaign surrogate, Rudy Giuliani, to create pressure to reopen the Clinton probe.
It further seems clear that fear of such leaks was a major or even the primary reason why James Comey sent his letter to Congress on October 28th, 2016. In other words, there was not just bias – Comey himself reportedly called it a “deep and visceral hatred of Secretary Clinton”. That bias lead to specific and repeated actions which at least violated FBI regulations and possibly violated the law. Those violations triggered a chain of events which likely changed the outcome of the election. That is a very big deal. And yet, these basic facts, which seem all but beyond dispute receive no clear examination in the IG Report.
To capture this, I wanted to assemble the information together in a timeline which I think captures the story in a way a mere discussion of it cannot. We should note that there is every reason to think that this pattern of bias played a role not only during the last six weeks of the campaign but indeed through the entire course of the two year investigation.
September 26th-27th, 2016: FBI Agent in New York first discovers the existence of Abedin/Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. The unnamed agent says he found the emails on either the evening of the 26th or morning of the 27th.
September 28th, 2016: FBI Headquarters in Washington is first notified of emails potentially relevant to “Midyear” investigation found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.
“Later September” 2016: Some time between the morning of September 27th and September 30th – four days – “good FBI agents” from the New York Field Office contact Rep. Devin Nunes (R) and other members of Congress about the existence of Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Nunes speaks of multiple members of Congress receiving the information and the information being received by the “House Intelligence Committee. Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking member of the Committee, says he never received the information. [Nunes to Laura Ingraham, June 14th, 2018; Schiff to Chuck Todd, June 17th, 2018]
September 27 – October 26th: FBI Agents in New York Field Office contact Rudy Giuliani and share information about existence of Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. [Reuters, April, 19th, 2018]
October 7th: President of The Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI Larry Langberg contacts Associate Deputy Director David Bowdich about an upsurge of “negative comments about the Bureau’s handling of the Clinton email controversy from former agents.” [IG Report, p. 267]
October 21st: Peter Strzok holds conference call with retired FBI personnel about “Midyear”, fielding criticism and explaining the Bureau’s actions and decision not to prosecute. Describing the call, Lisa Page tells Inspector General: “We got a ton of criticism from the formers about the, why we let her off the hook, and why she should have been prosecuted, and why if she had, if they had done this, they would have prosecuted, all those sort of criticism.” [IG Report, p.268-69]
October 25th-26th: Giuliani tells Fox News on October 25th: “I do think that all of these revelations about Hillary Clinton finally are beginning to have an impact. He’s got a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next two days.” The following day: “I mean, I’m talking about some pretty big surprises.”
October 28th: James Comey sends letter to Capitol Hill disclosing discovery of Clinton emails “that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”
October 31st: Loretta Lynch and Comey discuss letter to Congress and issue of anti-Clinton bias in New York Field Office, a pattern of bias she says “has put us where we are today.” According to Lynch, Comey said it had become clear to him “that there is a cadre of senior people in New York who have a deep and visceral hatred of Secretary Clinton. And he said it is, it is deep. It’s, and he said, he said it was surprising to him or stunning to him … and it was hard to manage because these were agents that were very, very senior, or had even had timed out and were staying on, and therefore did not really feel under pressure from headquarters or anything to that effect.” (IG Report, p. 387)
November 2nd: Rudy Giuliani tells Megyn Kelly: “You have outraged FBI agents that talk to me. They are outraged at the injustice. They are outraged at being turned down by the Justice Department to open a grand jury. They are convinced that Loretta Lynch has corrupted the Justice Department. You’ve got people in the Justice Department in charge of this investigation who are defense lawyers for Clinton people.”